Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Suzanne Brockmann

"Some of the best romantic suspense writers today are most well-known for (say it with me) their characters. Just about everyone loves Suzanne Brockmann's heroes--particularly her Navy SEALs. And Brockmann herself says she writes around 80 pages of backstory for each of her characters before she even gets to the first actual page of her novel." Tracy Montoya in her Polishing your Manuscript: Pushing yourself from Unpublished to Published workshop at Kiss of Death (RWA's Romantic Suspense Online Chapter).

Okay -- say it with me -- What the hell? I love Suzanne Brockmann. I just started
Flashpoint. I'm listening to it on the unabridged CD in my car while I drive to and from the bill-paying job. Her characters are so real. It truly is one of the great things about her writing. However, I'm 1/3 of the way into the second CD out of 11, and I've already met 4 POV characters. (Say it with me -- 4 x 80 = 320 pages before the first page of the story.) The last book of hers I read (also on CD) was Hot Target. Very, very good. (5 POV characters, if I remember correctly, for 400 pages of backstory before the first novel page.)

Of course, this explains why she is so very good. It also explains why (although I love her books and have been known to drive around my block several dozen times while listening to her because I can't go home until I find out what happens) I'm always a bit depressed when I read her. To me, she's a gold standard in romantic suspense. She writes a book about her characters just for her before she writes her book. I think I have 10 pages of character stuff (backstory) total for my 4 POV characters.

Apparently, I'm just a little behind. (And here I am typing this blog instead of doing the last 100 words I need to get tonight.)

Ah, well. The point of taking this class (in which I'm largely just lurking and printing the lectures for later use) was to find ways to go from unpubbed to pubbed. It's good to know Suzanne Brockman's way to write, but I can quite honestly say, I won't ever write 80 pages of backstory for one character. I'm not sure I could write 80 pages of backstory about me and I've known me for, well, many, many years.

There's a point when you just have to write and quit worrying about how everyone else does it. I'm there. And I'm also off to finish those last 100 words for tonight.

.... And maybe, just maybe, add a bit more backstory to my character worksheets.



Unknown said...

Wow. That is a lot of character building. I can see how it would be helpful, but . . . I'm with you. Maybe 80 pages is 80 handwritten pages and she writes really B I G.
Happy writing, Alyson